Sen. Kowall: with Dream Cruise approaching, historic vehicle owners should know state laws

LANSING — With five months before Woodward Avenue is packed with all sorts of classic cars, Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, wants to ensure historic vehicle owners are aware of their rights.

According to Rob Bakula of White Lake, last year several historic vehicle owners participating in the cruise were ticketed by Royal Oak police for not having proper license plates or registration.

“It’s extremely unfortunate that officers were ticketing classic car owners,” said Bakula, owner of a raven black 1965 Mustang Fastback with a red pony interior. “These individuals are not teenagers tearing up the road; they are mostly seniors reliving some of their youth, going out to eat, getting ice cream and proudly displaying their historic cars.”

Michigan vehicle code states that “historic vehicles” are any vehicles more than 25 years old and owned solely as collector’s items and for participation in club activities, exhibitions, tours, parades and similar uses, but not used for general transportation.

Under state law, for a $35 fee, historic vehicle owners can apply to use an authentically restored plate and have it considered an authentic Michigan registration plate.

“The Dream Cruise is a fantastic event,” Kowall said. “I want to help ensure that classic car owners fully enjoy the event, and the best way to do that is to help make sure they are aware of the state’s registration laws for historic vehicles. A simple trip to your local secretary of state office now may save you a headache or ticket in August.”

The lawmaker said historic vehicle owners who think they are wrongly cited should contest their tickets.

According to its website, the Woodward Dream Cruise is the world’s largest one-day celebration of classic car culture that attracts more than 1 million visitors and more than 40,000 muscle cars, street rods, custom, collector and special interest vehicles.

The cruise takes place each year on the third Saturday in August. This year, the 17th Annual Woodward Dream Cruise is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 20 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Sen. Kowall joins governor for bill signing


LANSING — State Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, joined Gov. Rick Snyder at the Capitol as he signed a new law ending individual price stickers on retail items. Public Act 15 of 2011 (House Bill 4158) eliminates current requirements for stores to individually mark items with price tags.


Editor’s note: The above photograph of Sen. Kowall and Gov. Snyder is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s photowire.

Senate Republicans cracking down on unemployment fraud

LANSING — The Michigan Senate approved legislation Wednesday to crack down on unemployment fraud and ensure the stability of unemployment benefits for state residents, said Sen. Mike Kowall, R-White Lake.

A recent auditor general report cites overpayments, uncollected penalties and millions paid to illegal aliens. It is estimated that unemployment fraud by individuals collecting benefits while working costs Michigan $100 to $150 million a year.

“The state’s unemployment system is bankrupt and needs to be fixed,” said Kowall, chair of the Senate Economic Development Committee. “The best way to do that is to crack down on the cheaters who are collecting benefits when they shouldn’t be.”

House Bill 4408 requires the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency to be more proactive in collecting overpayments of benefits by contracting for use of state-of-the-art anti-fraud software.

As approved by the Senate, the legislation also retroactively extends an additional 20 weeks of benefits to 150,000 long-term unemployed individuals whose benefits ran out at the end of last year.

Michigan’s unemployment trust fund is $3.9 billion in debt due to massive unemployment payouts during the decade long recession. The fund is supported by state and federal unemployment taxes paid by job providers.

“We have unemployed workers who really need these benefits,” Kowall said. “We need to ensure that the money Michigan’s job providers are paying to fund unemployment is benefitting those who really need it and not the corrupt individuals defrauding the system.”

HB 4408 will now go back to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Senators unveil plan to cut red tape, help put people back to work

LANSING — Senate Republicans announced several measures Wednesday to cut the red tape binding Michigan job providers and help put people back to work.

“This package of bills is all about job creation,” said key sponsor, Sen. Mike Kowall, chair of the Senate Economic Development Committee. “If we want to get Michigan’s economy back on track then we have to help get people back to work. The best way to do that is to cut up the red tape and roll out the red carpet for job providers.”

Kowall said Senate Bills 271 through 279 will reduce burdensome regulations on individuals and businesses to help create jobs and boost Michigan’s economy.

Measures in the eight-bill package would:

  • Level the playing field for Michigan job providers by prohibiting rules more stringent than federal rules, unless authorized by state law;
  • Require state agencies to consider disproportionate effects rules might have on small businesses compared to larger companies;
  • Improve timeliness in permitting and end delay tactics by regulators who keep asking for additional information;
  • Require regulators to compare standards in nearby states and perform a cost-benefit analysis when proposing new rules; and
  • Increase transparency in the rulemaking process to improve the opportunity for comment and suggestions by those impacted.

Kowall said reforming Michigan’s regulatory climate is critical. According to Site Selection magazine, business executives look at the ease of permitting and regulatory procedures second only to the availability of desired workforce skills when choosing the place to locate or expand their business.

“In the past decade, Michigan has lost nearly 800,000 jobs. We must remove the obstacles facing job providers so we can turn the state’s economy around,” said Kowall, R-White Lake.


Editor’s note: The above photograph of Sen. Kowall announcing the legislation is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the senator’s photowire at: